Popular Itineraries


A Walking Tour of Nevada City
Biking in Nevada County
From Nevada City over Donner Summit to Truckee
Midweek Truckee Getaway
Exploring Native Wildflowers in Nevada County
Bird Watching in Nevada County
A Weekend in Grass Valley and Nevada City
A Visit to Penn Valley – South Yuba River Park at Bridgeport, Pilot Peak Winery and the Tack Room
Red Wine, Whitewater and Blue Jeans Adventure Tour
Farm to Fork Culinary Adventure
Gold Rush Adventure Tour
Gold Country Escape — Mountain Biking in Nevada County

A Walking Tour of Nevada City

Nevada City is one of the prettiest and most interesting of the California Gold Rush towns. Here you will find quality restaurants, comfortable lodging, live theatre and a variety of fine shops, boutiques, galleries, museums, and wineries all flavored with old-fashioned Nevada City hospitality.
For a glimpse of California’s golden past, complemented by modern cultural and recreational diversions, Nevada City ranks among Northern California’s best. Nevada City is a recognized cultural and entertainment capital of the Sierra Foothills.

While many California Gold Rush towns have disappeared into the pages of history, Nevada City has rebounded time and again to emerge as a unique blend of yesterday and today. Nevada City’s current cultural and economic renaissance is proof of the town’s indomitable spirit. Visit the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, 132 Main Street, Nevada City for a map of the area. (530) 265-2692

Points of Interest:

South Yuba Canal Building, Ott’s Assay Office – The oldest business building in Nevada City. The South Yuba Canal Building (1855) houses the Chamber of Commerce. Ott’s (1857) houses a specialty shop. This is where James J. Ott assayed ore in 1859 that led to the Comstock Lode silver rush in Nevada
Fire House No. 1 – One of the most photographed buildings in the Gold Country. Built in 1861, it is now a museum.
The National Hotel - The state’s oldest continuously-operated hotel consists of four buildings (1854 and 1856-57).
The Nevada Theatre – This 1865 brick structure is the oldest building in the state erected as a theatre.
Firehouse No. 2 – Built in 1861, this venerable brick firehouse near the top of Broad Street housed one of Nevada City’s first volunteer fire companies.
Miners Foundry Cultural Center – Now a community center, the foundry, built in 1856, contributed technology for mining, skiing and other industries.
Nevada City Winery – The award-winning winery is located in new and restored quarters next to the Miners Foundry. Tasting and sales available.
Sargent House – Built in 1856 by civic leader and former U.S. Senator Aaron A. Sargent, this historic treasure is a private residence.
The Pine Street Bridge – This old-fashioned bridge across Deer Creek was built in 1996, a replica of the 1903 span. The first bridge here was built in 1863.
Nevada County Courthouse – The original 1855 courthouse burned in 1856 and was rebuilt in 1864. The annex was completed in 1964.
Stonehouse – The old brewery dates to 1857; its granite walls to 1882.
Chinese Quarter – Several Chinese businesses were located along Commercial Street in the 1850s-1870s.
Nevada City Carriage Company – Home of the downtown carriage operator.

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Biking in Nevada County

Nevada County is the perfect destination for avid road and mountain bikers. Every year the county plays host to numerous cycling events and has a great selection of rides and trails to choose from for the beginner to the advanced rider!

Road Bike Rides

The roads throughout Nevada and Sierra counties have become popular for recreational road riders and bicycle tourists of all levels and include the popular “Burn-of-the-Century” road ride the Saturday before the Nevada City Classic Pro race.

Mountain Bike Trails

For mountain bike riders, Nevada County is a year-round playground. Lush forests, rivers and lakes provide the backdrop for a pleasant cruise or a healthy cycling workout. The routes listed below follow public roads. Please do not trespass or park your vehicle on private property. On the trail, yield to hikers and equestrians. Be friendly and set a good example for our sport. Ride safely & have fun! For more information on mountain biking in the area visit www.bonc.org.

Suggested Bike Rides:

SOUTH YUBA TRAIL
Trailhead: Round Mountain Trailhead, located off Round Mountain Road
Distance: 20 miles
Total estimated climb: 1000+ ft.
Time of ride: 2-3 hours
Season: Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
6 Physical, 6 Technical

A fun and challenging single-track ride with views of the South Yuba River. At one time, the trail was posted as a clockwise riding circuit, but these days most riders seem to prefer a counter-clockwise direction. From Round Mountain, turn left at the South Yuba Trail, left at Lake Vera-Purdon Road, left again at Rector Road, left at Rock Creek Road and return on Round Mountain Road. Watch for poison oak along the trail.

EMPIRE MINE STATE PARK
Trailhead: West gate, at hilltop, off Empire St.
Distance: 1.5 to 10 miles
Total estimated climb: varies
Time of ride: varies
Season: Year around
Degree of difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
3-6 Physical, 1-4 Technical

Wooded trails with easy to challenging terrain traverse California’s richest gold mine, on both sides of Highway 174. Trail maps are available at the park visitor center but don’t ride in the visitor center area. There is an admission charge at this gate. Please observe the “No Bikes” signs in some areas.

CHAMPION MINE ROAD
Trailhead: Nevada City
Distance: 7-10 miles
Total estimated climb: 300 ft.
Time of ride: 30 min. to 1 hour
Season: Year around
Degree of difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
3 Physical, 2 Technical

Easy ride on gravel and dirt roads in the Deer Creek canyon. Ride out Factory Street (past Miners’ Foundry) to the pavement of Old Downieville Highway. Pass a few houses and take the first dirt road left. Stay high (right) at the steel gate. Ride to Newtown Road and return. Or turn right at Newtown, ride up to Highway 49 and right again on Old Downieville Highway. Return to town. A tougher alternative: From Newtown Road, cross Highway 49 and return to town via Country, Indian Flat
and Cement Hill roads.

GLACIER LAKE RIDE
Trailhead: Bowman Lake Road at Forest Road 18, or four miles up at Carr Lake.
Distance: 20 miles
Total estimated climb: 1200+ feet
Time of ride: 3 hours
Season: Late Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
7 Physical, 7 Technical

Fun, challenging and beautiful high country ride in the Grouse Ridge Lakes Basin. Take Highway 20 east and Bowman Lake Road north. Park at Forest Road 18 or Carr Lake. Ride to Feeley and Round akes (Trail 12E26). Follow signs to Milk Lake and Glacier Lake via Trail 13E13. Return the same way.

LOWER PIONEER TRAIL
Trailhead: Park at Harmony Ridge Market (mountain bikers invited) or at the horse staging area off Highway 20, one mile east, across from Lone Grave.
Distance: 10 miles
Total estimated climb: 500+ ft.
Time of ride: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: 4 Physical, 4 Technical
Ride eastward on the Pioneer Trail, which runs parallel to Highway 20, on the north side. The trail offers wooded singletrack riding with a moderate climb in the eastbound direction. It is marked with small diamond plaques on trees. Ride to White Cloud Campground and return, or continue eastward to Upper Pioneer Trail for a longer ride.)

NOTE: The entire route has been developed and is maintained by a local equestrian group, the Gold Country Trails Council. Please extend every courtesy to folks on horseback.

UPPER PIONEER TRAIL
Trailhead: White Cloud Campground
Distance: 10 miles
Total estimated climb: N/A
Time of ride: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: 6 Physical, 6 Technical
This trail parallels Highway 20 on the south side and drifts farther from the highway than the lower section. Ride to Skillman Campground and back, or for a longer ride, to Chalk Bluff Road and back. The trail is fairly rugged and mildly technical single-track, offering more challenging riding than the lower section. (This trail can be linked with the Lower Pioneer Trail for a longer ride.)

NOTE: The entire route has been developed and is maintained by a local equestrian group, the Gold Country Trails Council. Please extend every courtesy to folks on horseback.

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From Nevada City Over Donner Summit to Truckee

Following a relaxing night enjoying the many dining and lodging opportunities in Nevada City, you can start your day with a delicious breakfast at the South Pine Café located at 110 South Pine St., Nevada City.

The tour will begin at the Nevada County Railroad Museum, located at 5 Kidder Court in Nevada City, with an historical perspective of the railroad and its economic importance to the Donner Summit area and California’s agriculture.

www.NCNGRRMuseum.org

Before you leave Nevada City be sure to get some snacks for a picnic along the tour or plan to stop at The Summit Restaurant & Bar in Soda Springs for lunch.

Proceed up Hwy 20 to I-80 and follow I-80 North toward Truckee. Take the exit at Cisco Grove, where Old Highway 40 winds its way up to Donner Summit. The ranger station has a museum inside with information about the area. Across Old Hwy 40 from the ranger station, note the Lincoln Highway sign on the garage. Walk behind the garage to see a Lincoln Highway memorial and a Lincoln Highway marker. You can follow the Lincoln Highway west for a ways as it winds among cabins and along the Yuba River. The first stop in summit area was the wintering site of the first group of immigrants to cross the Sierra Nevada in 1844-45.

The next stop is the new Donner Summit Historical Society Museum in Soda Springs, which highlights the history of the Emigrant Trail and skiing in the area.

Continue on Old Hwy 40 North to Donner Summit. Park in the visitors parking area at the summit. Extraordinary vistas will roll out before you. Also, view the China Wall, built by the Chinese for the transcontinental railroad in 1867. Leave Old 40 and hike up toward the wall. Also, hike up west of the visitors’ area and explore the Native American petroglyphs carved into the granite rock.

Continue north on Old Hwy 40 to Donner Memorial State Park. Don’t miss the Emigrant Trail Museum.

After visiting the park, head down to the town of Truckee to explore boutique shops, wonderful dining and a variety of lodging opportunities.

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Midweek Truckee Getaway

Take some time off from your hectic schedule and enjoy on of the gems of Nevada County without with hassle of the weekend crowds.

Day One
7 p.m. After you check in to your hotel, dine at a one of downtown Truckee’s many restaurants! Truckee has a wide variety of restaurants at every price point. In the mood for Asian Fusion? Check out Dragonfly and enjoy your meal from their 2nd floor deck. Mexican? Head on over to Casa Baeza and sample one of their hundreds of Tequilas behind the bar.

Day  Two
9 a.m. Wake up and grab a cup of coffee at The Coffee Bar. The Coffee Bar is an Italian coffee shop that serves up organic coffee and espresso, pastries, panini sandwiches, freshly made gelato, handmade European crepes, organic loose leaf tea and chai, Italian sodas and more.

10 a.m. Explore Donner Lake. Hop in your car and take a drive to experience Donner Lake where you can hike, kayak or paddle board.

Visit the Donner Memorial State Park: two miles west of Truckee just off I-80, Donner Lake is a beautiful recreation area that includes Donner Memorial State Park. The 353 acre park includes 140 campsites, 60 picnic sites and frontage on Donner Lake and Creek.

In and around the park, you can study some of the Sierra Nevada’s geologic history, fish, hike, and in the winter build snowmen and cross country ski. The Emigrant Trail Museum which focuses the history of the area is open year around.

Emigrant Trail Museum
Wander through the exhibit on the Donner Party and check out the informative video. Nearby are two of the cabin sites and an interpretive trail. Off I-80 near Truckee, 12593 Donner Pass Road. 582-7892.

12:30 p.m. Grab a Quick Lunch at Burger Me! Burger Me! is a joint that is built for people who really want good, affordable food…fast. Using all natural products and the freshest ingredients, Burger Me! offers a huge selection of burgers, shakes and fries.

5 p.m. Stroll through downtown Truckee. Come enjoy the charm and beauty of downtown Truckee. Explore the unique shops and experience the gritty past and vibrant present of this historic railroad town. Downtown you will find an eclectic mix of old-fashioned shops, unique one-of-a-kind stores and upscale boutiques.

7 p.m. Enjoy a relaxing dinner at Pianeta Ristorante. Pianeta serves Italian / Mediterranean dishes, making all of the rolled pastas onsite each day and using the freshest ingredients in dishes like the crispy duck with balsamic and basil infused demi-glaze or  grilled wild king salmon topped with a lemon garlic aioli.

Day  Three
8 a.m. Breakfast at Squeeze In. Get in line early before you hit the road! Squeeze In is a decades-long favorite with Truckee and Tahoe visitors and locals alike, and is consistently voted Best Breakfast in Truckee year after year. The eatery offers 57 different types of omelets, each named after longtime or legendary Truckee residents, many of whom devised the ingredients of the omelet.

Nevada City & Grass Valley Fall Colors Tour

Delight in the brilliance of fall foliage walking or driving the historic streets of Nevada City and Grass Valley. Mid-October through much of November each year, vibrant maples, oaks and liquidambars adorn the Sierra Foothills of western Nevada County. Experience the beauty of New England autumns right here in Northern California! Local colors are best in the Victorian neighborhoods surrounding the historic downtown areas. Cooler weather and the changing colors of the landscape make a fall visit to a state park a memorable experience. Grass Valley is especially pretty from higher vista points. Nevada City colors are centered in a smaller area and may be more easily enjoyed by foot or bicycle.

Among the most popular sites are:
Nevada City
Nevada Street
Highway 20 to 49
Buckeye Hill
Park Avenue
Aristocracy Hill
Grass Valley
Neal Street
Empire Mine State Historic Park
Memorial Park
Butler Avenue
Golden Center Freeway

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Exploring Native Wildflowers in Nevada County

Before setting out, be sure to confirm that the flowers you’re tracking actually are in bloom. Have a map ready — and, if you’ll be hiking, pack comfortable shoes, plenty of water and a raincoat or umbrella for those April showers.

The wildflowers of the South Yuba River start to bloom the first part of March and they should be at full bloom between the end of March and the first part of April. The bloom continues until the end of April, depending on the weather. Spring rains extend the wildflower season.

PLEASE NOTE: It is illegal to pick or remove wildflowers from state park property. Please help us to protect this beautiful resource; take only pictures and fond memories.

Yuba-Donner Wildflower Loop
Where: This federally designated scenic loop northwest of Lake Tahoe touches numerous parts of Nevada County, taking its name from the two 7,000-foot Sierra passes it traverses.

Highlights: The route passes through numerous small towns and historic villages, along aspen-lined riverbanks and past hillsides cloaked with evergreen and deciduous foliage.

To get there: The byway officially begins where state highways 20 and 49 intersect in the Grass Valley-Nevada City area. From there, it follows Highway 49 on a clockwise route through North San Juan, Camptonville and the historic Gold Rush towns of Downieville and Sierra City. At Sierraville, the route turns south on Highway 89. If you’re returning to Sacramento, follow Highway 89 to Truckee, Interstate 80 and home.

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Bird Watching in Nevada County

Nevada County offers endless possibilities for you, your family or group to spend quality restorative time communing with nature. The Sierra Nevada foothills are known for their striking rugged beauty, dotted with an abundance of beautiful lakes, streams and the stunning Yuba River..

First and foremost, print out a list of the birds that you will be keeping an eye out for. There are numerous species indigenous to this area, many of which are endangered. The Sierra Nevada Audubon Society offers one of the most complex lists, which can be found here.

Next, grab some appropriate gear at a local Nevada County retailer. Mountain Recreation located at 491 East Main Street in Grass Valley offers a year round selection of quality outdoor gear and apparel. If you’ve already made your way up into the Sierra try Mountain Hardware, (530) 587 4844, located at 11320 Donner Pass Rd. Truckee, CA Once you are properly outfitted and have your binoculars focused, fill up your gas tank and hop in your car to one of the many birding hot spots in Nevada County.

1. Western Gateway Park is located between Highway 20 and Penn Valley Dr. in Penn Valley. While there is no direct entrance from Highway 20 either the Pleasant Valley Rd. or Penn Valley Dr. may be followed a short distance South from 20 and then proceed along Penn Valley Dr. to the park. The address is 18650 Penn Valley Dr. Penn Valley, Ca 95946

This park was the most fruitful in number of birds of all the sites visited in this spring’s early morning migratory bird walks. A bird list would include Bullock’s Oriole, Western Kingbird, Olive Sided Flycatcher, Scrub and Stellar’s Jays, Western Tanager, Acorn Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Nashville and other Warblers, black and yellow billed Magpies, bluebird, Northern Flicker and Red-breasted Sapsucker. Several raptors may be seen there including the American Kestrel and Red tailed Hawk. There is a Red Shouldered Hawk nesting with vocal young near Squirrel Creek that runs through the park.

2.The Spenceville Wildlife and Recreation Area lying along the western boundary of Nevada County is a bit remote but well worth the extra travel time. To reach Spenceville travel on West from the Lake Wildwood turnoff until you see the sign for Beale Air Force Base. Turn South on Smartville Road and bear to the left for 6.5 miles until you cross the Waldo bridge, a good place to start birding as Snipe are seen here. The best hikes begin 2 miles further at the old copper mine. The trip to Fairy Falls along Dry Creek usually is particularly rewarding.

An additional reason to visit is the threat to Spenceville posed by the proposed Waldo Dam, which would flood a major portion of the area including Fairy Falls. That is, if the prospect of viewing some of the 80 species of birds that nest at Spenceville or the 175 species of migratories that have been seen there are not reasons enough.

A partial listing of birds would include Nuttalls and Acorn Woodpeckers, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Band-tailed Pigeons, Black-headed Grosbeak, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, California Quail, Kingbirds, Northern Orioles, Purple Finch, Lazuli Buntings, and White Breasted Nuthatches. Raptors observed include Red-shouldered Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, White-tailed Kites, Turkey Vultures, Coopers Hawks and the American Kestrel.

3. Mathis Pond is a charming pond on the west side of Lower Dog Bar Road between Krystal Court and Carrie Drive in the area known as Alta Sierra. The diminutive pond is owned by the Nevada County Land Trust and maintained with the assistance of the Sierra Foothills Audubon Society. There is a Kiosk, benches overlooking the pond and a short gravel trail along with nine bluebird boxes and a wood duck box. Conveniently located for Grass Valley residents this is a great place to slip away from a daily schedule for a few moments of birding. Besides Bluebirds the avian population includes Titmice, a variety of finches, nuthatches, Towhees, Juncos, flycatchers, warblers and a Yellow Chat has been reported in the area.

Either Marya Miller or another birder offers a bird hike on the last Sunday of every month at 9a.m.. Sitting astride the South Yuba River it is the seasonal home to a considerable variety of birds. The wide variety of avian life found throughout the year at Bridgeport is one of its prime attractions. While incomplete, a list would include several varieties of woodpeckers, swallows, owls, wild turkeys, black phoebes, hummingbirds, warblers, wrens, vireos and a wide variety of raptors, including golden and bald eagles.

For more information on bird watching in Nevada County:
More Nevada County Birding Hotspots

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A weekend in Grass Valley and Nevada City

Day 1: Grass Valley

Check into the Swan-Levine House, a quaint B&B in Grass Valley. Before the house was purchased by the current inn keepers, the home functioned as a hospital. The Swan-Levine House has four guest rooms each with private baths with claw foot tub/shower combinations. The guest rooms are aptly named the Hospital Room 1 & 2, the Surgery Room and the Green Room. Swan Levine House is a short walk from downtown Grass Valley’s unique shops, restaurants, and the historic art deco Del Oro movie theatre.

2 p.m. Explore the Countryside: Visit the beautiful South Fork of the Yuba River (don’t forget your camera!). This 20-mile portion of the South Yuba River canyon stretches from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to Bridgeport covered bridge. The area includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, the steep rugged canyon of the South Yuba River, and the Independence Trail – the first identified wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the country.

Be sure to stop by the historic land site of the Bridgeport bridge and hike up the Independence Trail to reveal breathtaking scenic vistas. Visitors can view swiftly moving water pouring over massive granite ledges in the spring and warm slow moving emerald swimming holes during the late summer.

4 p.m. Wine Tasting at Pilot Peak Winery: Come sit under the trees, view the northern Sierra foothills on tiered-stone terraces and enjoy sipping wine at Pilot Peak Winery.  Pilot Peak Winery is located in Penn Valley, just a stone’s throw from Grass Valley and Nevada City.

6 p.m. Dinner at Cirino’s at Main Street: After a day of hiking the South Yuba River and tasting some wonderful wines, head back to downtown Grass Valley and dine at Cirino’s at Main Street. Nestled in the heart of Grass Valley, Cirino’s at Main Street offers award-winning Mediterranean style cuisine and outstanding service in a warm, friendly atmosphere.

8 p.m. End the night with a romantic stroll down historic Main Street in Grass Valley: Before retiring for the evening take a quick stroll down Main Street in Grass Valley. Art galleries, clothing stores, shoe stores, book stores, coffee shops, and music shops line the streets and make for great window shopping!

Day 2: Nevada City

9 a.m. Breakfast at South Pine Café: Make the short drive from Grass Valley into downtown Nevada City and stop at this delicious breakfast and lunch stop. South Pine Café is dedicated to serving freshly prepared and healthy dining options. Whenever possible they support local farmers and vendors. South Pine Café strives to please every type of hunger- from the biscuit and gravy connoisseur to the vegan, and everyone in between. In the 10 years of operation the café has tested, adjusted and tweaked an eclectic menu that is sure to satisfy hungry locals and visitors.

10:30 a.m. Check into the National Hotel: If you enjoy old-fashioned comfort and luxury, visit the National Hotel, the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Rocky Mountains. When guests arrive, they step back into the Victorian era. The sumptuous suites are furnished with antiques from the Gold Rush Days. The National Hotel is a registered historical landmark #899.

11 a.m. Art, Art, and More Art: From the Fur Traders to the Mowen Solinsky Gallery, downtown Nevada City is packed full of interesting galleries and shops that are a must see!

Lilly Vigil Gallery: In business for 25 years, Vigil’s collection includes a wide variety of fine art, hand made jewelry, weavings, pottery and artifacts. The gallery specializes in Native American art, and is proud that 99 percent of everything they carry is handmade by U.S. artists.

Mowen Solinsky Gallery: This exceptional contemporary art gallery is a showcase for career artists and talented craftspeople. In addition to the large Nevada County clientele, the gallery also attracts business and notoriety from international and national collectors. Set within a spacious historic Nevada City building built in the 1870s, the clean, well-lit interior has become a Northern California landmark and is recognized as an outstanding example in the field of galleries across the country.

More Museums and Galleries:

Broad St. Bistro & Gallery – 426 Broad Street Nevada City, CA 95959-2408 - (530) 265-4204

Lilly Vigil Gallery – 214 Broad Street, Nevada City, CA 95959-2502 (530) 265-5790

Mowen Solinsky Gallery – 225 Broad Street, Nevada City, CA 95959-2501 (530) 265-4682

Firehouse #1 Museum- 214 Main Street, Nevada City, CA 95959-2509 (530) 265-5468

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum 5 Kidder Court, Nevada City, CA 95959 (530) 470-0902

1 p.m. Lunch at Ike’s Quarter Café: This unique lunch spot offers beautiful patio seating or cozy indoor seating. Ike’s is certified with the Green Restaurant Association, and uses free range naturally raised meats, organic eggs, organic grains, organic flours, organic dairy, organic vegetables, and non-radiated spices. All the bread is organic and baked in house. When the season permits, this café supports local organic produce farmers. This café strives to make tasty food with something for everyone.

2 p.m. Local Show at Off Broadstreet: FUN is the key word at Off Broadstreet. Off Broadstreet only produces comedies, most of which are witty musicals, with a slant toward familiar hit songs of the 1950s and 60s. Intimate cabaret seating and a relaxed and friendly atmosphere add to the uniqueness of the experience. Enjoy the modestly priced selection of refreshments including locally produced wines, desserts, coffee and other beverages, served at your table before the show and during intermission.

6 p.m. Dinner at Friar Tucks: Friar Tuck’s on the corner of Pine and Commercial Streets in downtown Nevada City has offered a festive evening of dining combined with a lounge experience for the past 34 years. The restaurant features a friendly, fun staff, live music nightly, and many flavors for fine dining or grazing. A night in Nevada City would not be complete without a visit to Friar Tuck’s!

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A Visit to Penn Valley – South Yuba River Park at Bridgeport, Pilot Peak Winery and the Tack Room

Following a relaxing night enjoying all the things there are to see and do in Grass Valley, start your day with a delicious breakfast at the Charlie’s Angels Cafe located at 145 South Auburn Street in Grass Valley.

On your way to Penn Valley, stop in and pick up a picnic lunch at Blue Cow Deli. The deli offers vegetarian fare, hot and cold sandwiches on gourmet breads, delicious soups and salads.

Directions: From Grass Valley travel down Hwy 20 to Penn Valley. Turn left at Penn Valley Drive (there is a signal at this intersection). Follow Penn Valley Drive to a stop sign at Spenceville & Penn Valley Drive. Turn right to continue on Penn Valley Drive. Follow for a short distance to a small strip center located on the right side of the road. At 17500A Penn Valley drive you will see the Blue Cow Deli.

Continue to South Yuba River Park at Bridgeport: Out the driveway of Blue Cow Deli, turn right onto Penn Valley Drive and follow it to Hwy 20. Cross Highway 20 to Pleasant Valley Road. Follow Pleasant Valley Road for about 8 miles to South Yuba River Park at Bridgeport.

Along the way you will pass Lake Wildwood, a planned community, ideal for enjoying water sports and a championship golf course, designed by William Bell, who also designed Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

Upon arrival at the South Yuba River Park at Bridgeport you can wander through the history of Bridgeport’s covered bridge and conserved historic wagons, pan for gold, escape to a hidden swimming hole, and roam the trails surrounded by wildflowers, and picnic by the Yuba River.

The Visitors Center and Gift Shop offers a plethora of information about the activities, history and natural resources found at Bridgeport and the surrounding area. Come see the displays of local wildlife, Native American culture, and Bridgeport settlers.
Hikers may choose from short, level trails to longer more rugged trails, and everything in between.

The South Yuba River is famous for its pristine swimming holes surrounded by smooth granite rocks.
Gold panning demonstrations are held every weekend in the summer.
The South Yuba River is home to a large number of bird species, and a stopover point for migrating birds. You may see the small but mighty American dipper swimming underwater in the rapids or a bald eagle soaring overhead. Guided bird walks are offered in the fall and spring.
If you enjoy fishing, the Sacramento pike minnow is prevalent year round, while colder water temperatures may yield a small mouth bass or brown trout. Fishing licenses are required for ages 16 and up.
Don’t miss the Historic Barn and conserved Wagon collection that visually illustrates “The Story of Two Hundred Years of Transportation” from Western Nevada County to the gold and silver mining fields.

After enjoying Bridgeport, we suggest you experience wine tasting at Pilot Peak Winery.

Pilot Peak Winery offers comparative tastings, a sampling of four of their finest wines served alongside each other. A small plate of appetizers adds to the experience and provides the opportunity to appreciate the delightful interactions created by the marriage of food and wine.

Directions: Simply follow Pleasant Valley Road back to Hwy 20. Cross Hwy 20 and turn right onto Penn Valley Drive. Follow Penn Valley Drive a short distance and turn left onto Indian Springs Road. Drive through the pastoral countryside to Spenceville Road. Turn right and follow Spenceville Road a short distance to the Pilot Peak Winery entrance. The beautiful tiered, stone-walled terraces create an enchanting atmosphere.

Ready for a classic steak dinner or grilled seafood? Try Tack Room restaurant, a classic western-style roadhouse BBQ restaurant.

Directions: As you leave the winery follow Spenceville Road back to the intersection of Spenceville Road and Penn Valley Drive. Travel through the intersection and Spenceville Road becomes Penn Valley Drive. On the left you will find the Tack Room restaurant.
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Red Wine, Whitewater and Blue Jeans Adventure Tour

Check into the Swan-Levine House or Lamb’s Victorian Inn,  quaint B&Bs in Grass Valley and a short walk from historic downtown Grass Valley’s unique shops, restaurants, art galleries and five wine tasting rooms.

Visit the beautiful South Fork of the Yuba River (don’t forget your camera!). This 20-mile portion of the South Yuba River canyon stretches from Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park to Bridgeport Covered Bridge.  The area includes the longest single-span covered bridge in the world, the steep rugged canyon of the South Yuba River, and the Independence Trail – the first identified wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail in the country.

Finish your adventure wine tasting in Nevada County’s emerging wine country known as the Sierra Vintners. Visit one of the wineries located in the foothills or stop by a tasting room located in historic downtown Grass Valley or Nevada City.  With award-winning wines and people who will treat you like family the minute you arrive, you’ll be glad we pointed you in the right direction.

But wait, put those blue jeans on and head up to The Old Five Mile House, a family-owned restaurant just five miles east of downtown Nevada City.  Dine in this elegant, historic stagecoach stop built in 1890.  Good food, good beers, good wines, good folks and good times await you.

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Farm to Fork Culinary Adventure

Nevada County Grown presents Bounty of the County, A Celebration of Nevada County Agriculture, September 21, 2013, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley during the Draft Horse Classic. We are pairing fabulous local chefs and BBQ experts with the produce and meats of Nevada County Grown farmers and ranchers.  Tasting tickets will be sold and you will be able to sample a wide variety of wonderful dishes.

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Gold Rush Adventure Tour

Begin your adventure with a visit to Empire Mine State Historic Park located in Grass Valley.  Empire Mine was the richest hard-rock mine in the State of California producing 5.8 million ounces of gold in its operating history of 106 years (1850-1956). The Park offers historical tours of the Bourn Cottage and the mineyard, “living history” events, a scale model of the underground workings of the Empire/Star mine complex, a “gold room,” which displays ore samples from local mines, an Assay Office, and an extensive mineral collection.

Stop in Nevada City, just three miles from Grass Valley and visit the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.  Visitors are offered a docent-led historical tour of the museum, rail yard and restoration shop.

Jump in your car and travel up Highway 20 to visit the Donner Memorial State Park and the Emigrant Trail Museum, located just outside Truckee. Wander through the exhibit on the Donner Party and check out the informative video. Nearby are two of the cabin sites and an interpretive trail.

End your day with a stroll through historic downtown Truckee. Explore the unique shops and experience the gritty past and vibrant present of this historic railroad town. Downtown you will find an eclectic mix of old-fashioned shops, unique one-of-a-kind stores and upscale boutiques.

Rest your weary bones and stay the night at the newly renovated Truckee Hotel located in the heart of historic downtown.  Built in 1873, the Truckee Hotel is the perfect ending to your Gold Rush Adventure in Nevada County, California.

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Gold Country Escape – Mountain Biking in Nevada County CA

For mountain bike riders, Nevada County is a year-round playground for mountain bike riders. Lush forests, rivers and lakes provide the backdrop for a pleasant cruise or a healthy cycling workout. Bicyclists of Nevada County (BONC) , a local non profit, is committed to responsible mountain bicycling, preservation and improvement of riding opportunities. The organization offers a full listing of trails, events and rides throughout the County.

After a long day on the trails, spend the night at the Outside Inn or Broad Street Inn, located in a quiet residential neighborhood just blocks from historic downtown Nevada City. The Outside Inn features unique themed rooms under tall pines and is just a short walk to bookstores, cappuccino, shopping, entertainment and restaurants. Built in 1870, the Broad Street Inn is a small, family-owned green business that prides itself on clean, comfortable accommodations at affordable rates.

For a complete listing of lodging in Nevada City, Grass Valley and Truckee, visit our lodging directory.

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